Tag Archives | Pranks

Rupert Murdoch’s Tabloid Hacked To Report His Death

The woes keep piling on for Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, as the homepage of its popular Sun paper was altered to feature an amusing fake report on the mogul’s committing suicide “in his topiary garden”. The Guardian notes:

News International websites for the Times and the Sun were taken down last night after hackers targeted the Sun‘s web pages and redirected traffic to another page falsely reporting that Rupert Murdoch had been found dead. The breach was apparently the first hack of a major UK newspaper’s website.

The LulzSec hacking collective hacked the tabloid’s site, and also claimed to be “sitting on their [the Sun‘s] emails” and that they would release the emails on Tuesday.


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MoveOn Admits To Hacking Fox News

Fox News' ticker outside the New York building was hacked into, replacing the scrolling news with an activist message describing the lies being told by conservative groups. MoveOn, a progressive advocacy group, claimed responsibility for the prank which they are now using to promote a broad anti-austerity campaign that launches June 23.
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Russian Jailed For Hacking Highway Sign With Porn

porn-in-moscowYahoo News reports:
MOSCOW (AFP) – A Moscow court jailed a Russian hacker for 18 months after he altered an electronic advertising billboard so that it screened a pornographic video, the RIA Novosti news agency reported Thursday. Hacker Igor Blinnikov stopped traffic in January last year by breaking into a computer system and screening a graphic sex video for around 10 minutes on a video billboard beside a busy highway in central Moscow in the late evening. Blinnikov, who comes from the southern Russian city of Novorossiisk, was found guilty late Wednesday of illegally gaining access to information on a computer and distributing pornographic materials. He called the video prank on Moscow's Garden Ring highway a "joke that went wrong"...
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Zombies Ahead!

CORRECTION Zombies AheadFrom the amusing pranks department, via Reuters:
Arizona drivers were warned of the undead roaming a desert highway near Tucson over the weekend, after a suspected prankster tampered with an electronic road sign, police and news media said. Someone without a good grasp of spelling reprogrammed a digital road sign on a highway near Marana, northwest of Tucson, to read "Caaution Zombies ahead!," the Arizona Daily Star newspaper reported on Monday. Marana Police Department said it appeared to be a practical joke. "We didn't get any complaints or any other problems in the area... (and) no reports of zombies...
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W. Reginald Bray, The Great British Mail-Prankster

mailThe New Yorker writes about W. Reginald Bray, a legendary prankster who, more than one hundred years ago, tested the limits of the British postal system. I’m not sure whether today you could get away with mailing a stamp-covered skull:

Bray was an avid collector who amassed stamps, postmarks, train tickets, and girlfriends, and who, after reading the entire British Post Office Guide, impishly determined to take the rules as challenges. He tried posting an unimaginable array of things, to see whether the post office would deliver them. Apparently, at the time, the smallest item that could be posted was a bee, and the largest an elephant. Bray seems to have tried most things in between. At one point or another, he mailed a bowler hat, a rabbit skull (the address spelled out on the nasal bone, and the stamps pasted to the back), a purse, a slipper, a clothes brush, seaweed, shirt collars, a penny, a turnip (address and message carved into the durable tuber), an Irish Terrier, and a pipe, among other curios.

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At Last: Installing Tourist/Native Walking Lanes In New York

On Fifth Avenue, not far from Disinformation’s offices, pranksters posed as Department of Transportation employees and reconfigured the sidewalks into “tourist” and “New Yorker” lanes and spent the day training pedestrians on how to use them. This is something for which city citizens have been clamoring for decades — I’m glad these rogue urban planners stepped in and made it happen.

Improv Everywhere New Yorkers vs. Tourists

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British Airways Mag Shows Osama Bin Laden As ‘Frequent Flyer’

Osama boarding passWTF, from the Hindustan Times:

In an embarrassing turn of events, a staff magazine of British Airways carried a front-page photo of Osama Bin Laden, labelling him as a frequent flyer with the airlines.

BA’s in-house Heathrow newspaper LHR News showed a photo illustrating a scheme to let passengers receive their boarding pass via their iPhones.

The photo shows a smiling check-in steward greeting a happy passenger while another holds his iPhone up to the camera. A close-up shows a white boarding pass bearing the name Bin Laden/Osama.

To compound BA’s embarrassment, the pass also classes the world’s most wanted terrorist as a “frequent flyer”.

The gaffe doesn’t end there – Bin Laden’s seat is 7C, which would put him firmly in the luxury of First Class…

[continues in the Hindustan Times]

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The Yes Lab for Creative Activism

yeslab_mainheaderOur friends Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno, better known as the Yes Men, have launched The Yes Lab, a series of brainstorms and trainings to help activist groups carry out Yes-Men-style projects on their own. Check out the Yes Lab site; this is how they explain it:

Why now?

We Yes Men have been doing our thing for about 12 years. Many of our best projects have been in collaboration with activist groups—our BBC announcement on behalf of Dow Chemical came out of a collaboration with Greenpeace, for example.

Last fall, we collaborated with a coalition of groups to release a much-improved “climate edition” of Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post, and to launch an assault on the U.N. by sea (“Balls Across America“). Also in collaboration with activists, we visited our nation’s capital to re-brand the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, then headed to Copenhagen to successfully embarrass Canada about its terrible climate policies.

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10 Years Ago: The Devastating ILOVEYOU Virus

virus_iloveyouLast week marked the ten-year anniversary of one the most fiendishly successful computer viruses of all time, whose occurrence signaled the rise of spam email. The virus’s incredible spread was based more on psychological than technical skill: the subject line ILOVEYOU and attachment name LOVE-LETTER-FOR-YOU were what got people. I.e. we found out that people on the internet are lonely. BBC News looks back:

All around the world, security researchers were waking up to the scale of the problem confronting them.

It all started in the Philippines many hours earlier when 24-year-old Onel De Guzman released a virus that he had proposed creating as part of his undergraduate thesis.

Few could resist opening the attachment which kicked off the attack code that then plundered their e-mail address list and sent itself to every name it found. In 2000, many people did not have any security software and even those that did only updated the signatures of known viruses once a month.

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